Sony is debuting its new mSafety mobile health platform at the Connected Health Conference in Boston, which kicks off Wednesday. The platform features a customizable smartwatch with built-in sensors and streamlined cloud connectivity. The mSafety platform is designed for mobile health companies looking for a platform on top of which they can build patient monitoring solutions.
“We provide the secure platform that allows communication,” said Anders Stromberg, head of the Wearable Platform Department for Sony Group’s Network Communications, Europe, in a phone interview. “The implementation of the partner application, and how that interacts with the user and the healthcare provider, is up to that partner.”
The platform has two main components. The wearable watch offers sensors that can measure heart rate, heart rate variability and sleep position. It also comes with a Bluetooth interface to connect external devices. The cloud-based backend gives providers the ability to monitor their patients, push messages to encourage compliance and update software. All data is encrypted – whether it comes from the device or the cloud.
While the Apple Watch and other wearables have made significant inroads in the consumer arena, Sony felt the market could use a more robust B2B approach.
“We talked to companies and users of different wearables,” said Stromberg. “A couple of things were very common with the feedback. The battery life was far too short. Most were consumer wearables, so they had a lot of bells and whistles that were not really useful for this specific medical use case. They were also dependent on a secondary device, like a mobile phone, which was really complicating things.”
The top priority during mSafety development was battery life, which Sony believes will last seven days or longer. The key was using a low power internet of things channel (LTE Cat M1), which was specifically designed for light-to-moderate data needs. In addition, the mSafety communicates directly to the cell network, even if the user does not have a smartphone.
Another issue was user-friendliness. Many end-users would be older, and Sony wanted to ensure they weren’t tripped-up by device setup issues.
“We have been thinking about elderly people,” said Stromberg. “What do they think is complex about using technology? It’s always about having to configure the device.”
The mSafety has a soft SIM, which alleviates the need to enter PIN codes or sign-in online. In addition, partners can preconfigure the device to connect to external sensors, such as a continuous glucose monitor for diabetes patients.
Sony sees a wide range of applications for mSafety. In Europe, they are working with hospitals to monitor compliance in kidney patients. Another partner is investigating using movement data to predict whether a user is at immediate risk of falling and then pushing warnings to help them avert that fall. Diabetes control may also be a fertile market.
“We are talking to a diabetes company about combining wellness data – movement, calories, stress and sleep – with the glucose data,” said Stromberg. “We can give insights to the diabetes patient, so they can get a better understanding of their condition and treat it better.”
Following the soft launch at the Connected Health Conference, Sony plans a more formal rollout in 2020.
“We are looking at U.S. partners,” said Stromberg, “to complement existing remote health solutions.”